The Crusader Kings board game will be gracing tabletops very soon, letting you plot and fight and spawn incompetent heirs while your opponents, the other great European dynasties, sit across from you. You'll be able to start your conquest of medieval Europe on August 1.
Paradox announced a few board game adaptations last year, which is fitting for a company that started by adapting a board game, Europa Universalis. Crusader Kings, the PC version, shares a lot of EU's systems and already has a lot in common with tabletop strategy romps, so it seems well suited.
Like its PC counterpart, Crusader Kings is driven by characters rather than nations. Players can marry off members of their dynasty and make them have kids, and these characters all come with positive and negative traits that affect the outcome of actions. If the King is a horny, mean idiot, you'll have a bunch of negative tokens in your pool that are drawn at random, increasing the chance of failure.
Jon Bolding and I played a few rounds at last year's PDXcon and, while elements may have been tweaked since then, it was almost as deft as generating stories as Crusader Kings 2. It's not a tight, balanced strategy game, but it creates surprisingly compelling yarns out of random events and bickering players. There's a great deal of interaction between dynasties, with everything being up for sale and lots of ways to screw over the opposition.
The Crusader Kings board game is due out on August 1 and preorders are available now on publisher Free League's store. If you're going to be at Gen Con this year, you'll be able to check it out at Free League and Paradox's booths.